On the Turntable: Yellow Ostrich
Genre: Indie pop
My rating: Forget the maps and guidelines and get lost with a band that breaks the mold.
I place Yellow Ostrich on the turntable—even the transparent 7-inch is yellow!—and the room fills with the layered rhythms of “Whale” that are deep enough to swim in. I’m hooked by the song’s depth and expansive sound.
I’m always awestruck by smart-sounding pop, and another of Yellow Ostrich’s songs, “Libraries” has exactly what I’m looking for lyrics-wise: “Libraries burn fast, When they’re in the past, Once you leave all your stories will be gone, Libraries burn fast, They weren’t built to last, Flames of memory burn brighter than the rest…” Alex Schaaf sings, striking a Ray Bradbury-esque chord with me.
Whether he’s crossing the sea in his song “Whale” or helping a drug-addicted friend get clean in “Mary,” lead singer and song writer of Yellow Ostrich Schaaf takes his listeners into uncharted territory. With echoing drum beats and mystifying lyrics, Schaaf’s songs create an almost hypnotic effect with their soothingly repetitive sound.
Schaaf, who graduated last year from a liberal arts college in Wisconsin, is continuing to expand his music career by bringing his organic rhythms with him to the Big Apple. Yellow Ostrich’s style takes subtle cues from Bon Iver, but transforms them with Schaaf’s vocals—he uses a loop-track system to harmonize with himself, giving the songs a hauntingly reflective resonance. Bandmates Michael Tapper on the drums and Jon Natchez on bass, and occasionally the horn, also add to this band’s unique effect.
Their first full-length album, “The Mistress,” which was released this past August, has lured indie music lovers to their shows and iTunes page with increasing popularity. It’s okay if you decide you love them too; I won’t tell Death Cab for Cutie that you’re cheating on them. Like Yellow Ostrich’s song, “Run” says, “but if you think the day is done my love, I’ve news for you, For I am not a hasty one, but when there’s things to do I’ll run.”
Slip on your TOMS and run— don’t walk—to check out this fantastic band. Getting lost has never been this much fun.
“Whale” – Yellow Ostrich
“Mary” – Yellow Ostrich